‘Absolutely’: Bo Levi Mitchell believes he’ll be ready to start Week 1 with Tiger-Cats after ‘small setback’

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography

Bo Levi Mitchell believes he will “absolutely” be ready to start the regular season for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after participating in practice on Monday.

“Age 34, if I’ll ever be 100 percent again, we’ll see,” Mitchell said with a chuckle. “I’m going to keep continuing to ramp up. Did a bunch today, probably took 30 reps, gotta keep ramping up each day.”

“A lot of good plays made and I felt good throwing the ball, getting the ball out there and making some good reads. I’ve gotta get my footwork under me a little bit more but I felt great.”

Participating in practice came shortly after Mitchell was unable to compete in rookie camp, which is traditionally attended by veteran quarterbacks. He was spotted wearing a walking boot on his right leg, the same one he fractured last season.

Mitchell indicated he suffered a “small setback” during a training session with strength and conditioning coach Marcellus Bowman three weeks ago, which is why he was unable to participate last week. Head coach Scott Milanovich confirmed his setback was related to the injury Mitchell sustained to his leg last season.

“I wasn’t doing anything stupid, something happened during a workout,” he said. “It didn’t feel great and lingered on and it happened to come up three weeks before camp started. It was unfortunate timing.”

Milanovich indicated the team is practicing load management for several older players or those coming off injury.

“It’s a quick camp, so it’s a fine line between getting them enough reps to be ready for the season and then making sure they’re healthy,” the veteran coach said.

“(Mitchell’s return to 100 percent is) gonna depend on how quickly he progresses. We have a plan to give him more (reps) every single day but we’re gonna have to get some feedback from him on how it’s feeling. We don’t wanna have any more setbacks.”

The two-time CFL Most Outstanding Player started six games in 2023, his first season in Hamilton, missing time due to an adductor injury and a fractured leg. He went 2-4 as a starter while completing 59.1 percent of his passes for 1,031 yards with six touchdowns and ten interceptions.

Mitchell was relegated to backup duty for last year’s East Semi-Final against the Montreal Alouettes, which led him to speculate he wouldn’t be back with the team in 2024. He ended up remaining in Steeltown on a significantly restructured contract that saw him take an approximately 50 percent pay cut.

The Ticats open the 2024 regular season by visiting the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium on Friday, June 7.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.